Washington, D.C. is leaving up to $8 million on the table per year, thanks to inefficient bus routes. Buses vastly reduce traffic problems on 16th Street by limiting the number of vehicles on the street. The absence of bus lanes, however, causes considerable delays and costs Washington, D.C. a whopping $8 million per year.
In addition to saving money, bus lanes would also save time. “The speed of a bus is directly related to the cost of providing the service. Simply put, if we double the speed of a bus, we can provide the same service for half the cost. Or for the same cost, we can provide twice as much service,” Greater Greater Washington explains. “WMATA’s Priority Corridor Network study [reveals that] by 2030 a bus would take about 40 minutes to get from Silver Spring to McPherson Square. However, if there were a bus lane, buses in 2030 would be able to cover the same distance in just over 20 minutes.” Public transportation via bus is hardly new. In fact, the first buses — English stage coaches — transported guests from city to city in the 16th century.
Bus lanes would not, moreover, significantly cut into car’s travel time. Driving a car on 16th Street would take only four minutes longer with the addition of bus lanes, researchers suggest. The costs- and time-saving initiative is gaining popularity. Some mayoral candidates even tout the proposed bus lanes on 16th as part of their campaigns. The motion is not agreeable to everyone, however.
“Bus lanes on a portion of 16th Street may help many travelers, and they are frequently discussed, but they would not come without consequences,” The Washington Post warns. Many worry that bus lanes would severely limit parking. Finding a parking spot is already a problem, Ronnie J. Kweller tells The Washington Post. Kweller suggests that some delays may have little to do with the streets’ congestion. “I do see this overcrowding and the lack of a sufficient number of buses as a much bigger problem than traffic congestion leading to bus delays — at least for this portion of 16th Street,” Kweller adds.